“Bowling for Columbine” Film Analysis
On April 20, 1999, many people’s lives drastically changed. An incident that occurred in Littleton, Colorado created a jaw dropping event that disrupted all of America. It also stopped Michael Moore right in his tracks. Not long after the incident, Michael Moore decided to make a documentary called “Bowling for Columbine,” a film that acknowledged many important points that are usually ignored and overlooked. This documentary focused on a school shooting that never should have happened. This tragic incident lead Moore to ponder many questions and create an extremely interesting documentary.
Michael Moore has been in the film industry for quite some ...view middle of the document...
“Bowling for Columbine” is often known for its slight humor and tragic story. This film was the first documentary to be accepted at the Cannes Film Festival (Waak). Michael Moore tells the story of the shooting at the Columbine High School, and goes on to research reasons why and how this could have happened. In a New York Times article written by A.O. Scott, they immediately point out questions Moore tries to answer: “Why do Americans shoot one another so much more often than the citizens of other developed countries? Why do our lives seem to be governed by fear?” These are questions that help form the entire documentary. Michael Moore goes into great detail in his research to describe why the United States has such a high violence rate. He considered issues that related to media. For example, he researched television and movies that contained violence. But numerous reasons lead him from believing media had anything to do with it. Scott explains why Moore decided against media involvement:
These are hardly simple questions, and Mr. Moore vacillates between acknowledging their complexity and giving in to his own urge to simplify. He dismisses a number of possible answers out of hand. Is violent popular culture to blame? No, because in a country like Japan, with a tiny fraction of our gun deaths, people consume super-brutal movies, video games and comic books with even more voracity than we do. Poverty? No, since Canada and many European nations have much higher unemployment rates and much lower homicide rates. Is it our history of warfare and brutality? Compared with imperial Britain and Nazi Germany, he suggests, we're downright pacific (Scott 1,2).
In Moore’s documentary, he also provokes many more questions. He looks into fear throughout America and homicide statistics. He also greatly researches businesses that supply ammunition and firearms. From there on, he builds his case. He considers facts from history and the present to help him form his documentary as well. Not only does he believe violent media has some involvement in common massacres, but he also believes America’s history and racism is involved. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, written by Johnathan Curiel, it is plainly stated that “[r]acism has always permeated the United States. It’s no coincidence, Moore believes, that the NRA and the Ku Klux Klan were founded around the same time 130 years ago” (Curiel). He even considers America’s culture of fear, bigotry and violence in a nation with gun ownership (Chisholm). Not only does Michael Moore consider history as a factor in the Columbine massacre, but he also considers location and stores.
The local Kmart near the Columbine High School is where the ammunition was bought that killed the 12 students in 1999. Moore thinks this plays a huge role in the massacre, so he makes a plan. He and two students who were injured in the Columbine shooting marched into Kmart to make a stand. They demanded that the...